Extending your Tier 4 (General) student visa in the UK
If you are switching to a new course of study within the Royal Conservatoire you may need to apply for an extension to your Tier 4 visa. To make an application under the Tier 4 (General) category within the UK, you must read the UKVI Tier 4 Policy Guidance and Photograph Guidance. It is no longer possible to apply using a paper application form and all applicants must now use UKVI’s online application system.
In order to apply for a new Tier 4 visa in the UK your new course of studies must start no more than 28 days after the end of your current leave, if the gap between the end of your current leave and the start of your new course (as stated on your CAS) is longer than 28 days then you must leave the UK and apply from your home country.
Time limit (cap) on study
There is a maximum time limit on studying with a Tier 4 visa. Before you can be issued with a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS), the Conservatoire will check that your application will not take you over the maximum time allowed. For courses at degree level, the cap is five years. However, there are some exceptions to the five-year cap, including those Tier 4 students who are applying to study on or continue a course in music at a Conservatoire.
How and when to apply
You apply, pay the fee and submit the form online, and then submit your passport and other documents to the Home Office by post or in person. You must be in the UK on the date of application otherwise your application will not be considered. Your date of application is the date on which you pay the application fee and submit the application online. You then have 15 working days to submit your documents by post, or 45 working days to submit them in person at an appointment. If you remain in the UK after the date on which your current immigration permission ends without submitting an application for further leave to remain, then you become an over-stayer, which is a criminal offence.
The application will cost £448 if you submit your documentation by post or £948 if you attend an appointment at a Home Office Public Service Centre (in Glasgow this is on Brand Street). You will also need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). Australian and New Zealand nationals will only be exempt from this charge if they make an application before 6th April 2016. You may also be asked to attend a credibility interview.
Before you can submit an online application to extend Tier 4 leave to remain you must be issued with a CAS statement from the International and Student Experience team. You should arrange an appointment to see Sarah Ward (Assistant Registrar International and Student Experience) once you have set up a UKVI log-in account and completed most sections of the online application. At the appointment, you will be issued with your CAS statement and Sarah will advise you of what you should do next, prior to the submission of your application. Before your application is submitted you must ensure that you have met all the financial requirements and you should gather the following documents to be sent with your application:
If your CAS statement lists any of your academic qualifications, you will need to include the originals of these qualifications with your application. However, you will usually only need to include certificates and/or transcripts when you are applying for a visa for a new course. If your current visa was issued for a different UK Higher Education Institution you will need to provide certificates with your extension application.
These MUST cover a consecutive 28 day period and the final date of this 28 day period must not be more than 31 days old on the date that you submit your application. Alternatively, a bank letter can be provided. If you receive funding from an official financial sponsor you will need a letter from them confirming how much money they will contribute towards your course fees and maintenance. This letter should show:
- your name
- the name and contact details of the official financial sponsor
- the date of the letter
- the length of the sponsorship
- the amount of money the sponsor is giving to you, or a statement that all course fees and living costs will be covered.
An official financial sponsor is defined in the Tier 4 policy guidance as:
- the UK government
- your home government
- the British Council
- any international organisation
- an international company (the Home Office has not defined ‘international company’ but it seems to mean a company with a trading presence (an office) in more than one country)
- any university
- an Independent School
If your official financial sponsor is the Conservatoire and details of this sponsorship has been included in your CAS, you do not need an additional letter.
If you have an official financial sponsor for your new course, and the sponsor is a government or an international scholarship agency, their sponsor letter (which you will need for evidence of your money, see above) should specifically state that they consent to your Tier 4 (General) application.
If you have previously received financial sponsorship from a government or international scholarship agency for your studies, and the sponsorship ended less than 12 months ago, you must also obtain and include a letter of consent from this financial sponsor.
For further information please see the Tier 4 Policy Guidance or the UKCISA website. If you are a low-risk applicant then you do not need to submit bank statements alongside your application but you should retain them in case the Home Office asks to see them.
The photos must be passport-sized and recently taken, with your name written on the back of both of them. Please see the UK Visas and Immigration Photo Guidance for more information. If your photos do not meet the UK Visas and Immigration requirements your application will be returned to you as invalid and you will need to submit a new application.
You must include all of your passports (including expired ones) that you have used since coming to the UK.
Your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
It is only possible to pay for a Tier 4 (General) visa extension application with a credit or debit card. You must pay the application fee and the Immigration Health Surcharge before you can submit your online application or book an appointment at a Public Service Centre.
Police Registration Certificate
If your current immigration stamp, sticker or card states that you need to register with the police, you will need to include your up-to-date registration certificate with your application. This certificate must show your current address.
In addition to the original documents, you must provide a fully certified translation of documents that are not in English or Welsh. UK Visas and Immigration specifies what should be included in an officially translated document. As of March 2014, the guidance states that the translation should include all of the following:
- Details of the translator/translation company’s credentials
- Confirmation that it is an accurate translation of the original document
- The translator/translation company’s contact details
- The date
- The original signature of the translator
Once you have submitted your online application on the advice of the Assistant Registrar, your travel documents and other supporting documents will be posted (by Special Delivery) on your behalf. This will be done by the Assistant Registrar and when your visa extension is granted your Biometric Residence Permit, passport and supporting documents will be returned to the Royal Conservatoire, if you have listed the Conservatoire as your correspondence address. A scanned copy of your BRP will be taken for inclusion in your student file and you will be invited to come into the AAS office to collect your BRP and supporting documents. If you have selected an in-person appointment at the Glasgow Public Service Centre you must retain your documents to take with you to the appointment. Your biometric information will be taken at this appointment. If you apply by post you will receive a letter inviting you to have your biometric information taken at a local post office. You must do this immediately upon receipt of the letter.
If you would like any help with completing an application for extending your current visa then please contact the International and Student Experience team via firstname.lastname@example.org and Sarah will be happy to assist.
Registered Traveller Scheme
Registered Traveller is a service launched by Border Force to give faster and more convenient entry to the UK. Students sponsored by the Conservatoire for Tier 4 visas may be eligible if they’re a national from the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Members benefit from:
- access to ePassport gates at airports across the country
- use of the UK / EU queue at specified ports
- no need to complete a landing card on arrival to the UK
- no credibility interview with a Border Force officer.
Membership costs £70 and full details of eligibility and availability can be found online.